27 November, 2020

"We Need Ambedkar--Now, Urgently..."

The Booker prize-winning author on her essay The Doctor and the Saint and more

Narendra Bisht
"We Need Ambedkar--Now, Urgently..."
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

In 1936, Dr B.R. Ambedkar was asked to deliver the annual lecture by the Hindu reformist group, the Jat-Pat-Todak Mandal (Forum for Break-up of Caste) in Lahore. When the hosts received the text of the speech, they found the contents “unbearable” and withdrew the invitation. Ambedkar then printed 1,500 copies of his speech at his own expense and it was soon translated into several languages. Annihilation of Caste would go on to have a cult readership among the Dalit community, but remains largely unread by the privileged castes for whom it was written.

Ambedkar’s landmark speech has now been carefully annotated and reprinted. What will certainly draw contemporary public attention to it is the essay written as an introduction by the Booker prize-winning author Arundhati Roy, titled The Doctor and the Saint.

Almost half of the 400-page book is Roy’s essay, the other half Annihilation of Caste. Roy writes about caste in contemporary India before getting into the Gandhi-Ambedkar stand-off....

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